Shock Wave Therapy

What is Shock Wave Therapy? 

Therapeutic shock waves were introduced as medical treatment for eliminating kidney stones 20 years ago. During these treatments one of the side affects noted was an accelerated tissue healing response in the area. This led to the development of radial shock wave therapy.
The radial shock wave is generated using compressed air. This is used to drive a projectile in a cylinder, located in the hand piece to a shock transmitter.

The pulses you can hear and feel spread into your underlying tissue to a depth of up to 6cm. 

How does it help me?

There are several potential benefits using radial shock wave.
Pain reduction - by changing the way the nerves signal pain (interferes with the pain signals in a positive way).
Increased tissue healing - radial shock waves cause the release of chemicals in the cells which can reduce inflammation and pain.
Improved blood flow - repeated shock waves create new blood flow promoting tissue healing and regeneration.
Reduced muscle tone - shock waves act on trigger points. These are the painful tender spots in muscles which often generate pain and dysfunction.

How many sessions?

We recommend 6-8 sessions with approximately 4 days in between to see good benefits and results. Many patients notice a difference after just one session.

Does it work for everyone?

Quite simply, no. We find improvements in approximately 60-70% of patients, but still a percentage of people do not respond. We will only offer this treatment when other treatment avenues have been tried first. Most patients will still have a degree of "home work" to continue with regards to stretching and strengthening which should be continued. 

Does it work for everyone?

Normally radial shock wave therapy is well tolerated and has few side effects. Bony areas can be reasonably tender with the application of radial shock wave therapy, but this stops as soon as treatment stops and we will try to take steps to make this comfortable. Other side effects (which usually disappear after a few days) include redness of the skin, slight swelling and discomfort over the treatment area.

If you have any other questions regarding radial shock wave therapy, please ask your physiotherapist who will be pleased to answer these for you. 

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